Criminal writer Ed Brubaker is teaming up with Barrier artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente for a new Panel Syndicate title called Friday. It’s about a former girl detective/occult expert who returns home from college for the holidays and gets wrapped up in a new mystery.
“One of the first things I said to Marcos was that this book feels like Lovecraft’s New England is colliding with Edward Gorey’s,” said Brubaker. “And I like to describe Friday as post-YA, which is a genre that doesn’t really exist. It’s an idea I’ve been circling for a long time, that lets me tap into my own nostalgia for my youth and the YA books I loved back in the 70s and 80s – stuff like The Great Brain, or John Belliars books, or Harriet the Spy, or Encyclopedia Brown. I want to take that concept of the teen detective and those supernatural mysteries aimed at kids, but then let the protagonists grow up, so they have all the same problems we all do… and they encounter a much more dangerous world.”
The “Friday” in the title is Friday Fitzhugh, the former girl detective who used to solves mysteries with her best friend, Lancelot Jones. “But that was years ago,” the press release reads. “And now Friday is in college and starting a new life on her own. She’s moved on. Until she returns home for the holidays and is immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit. This is literally the Christmas vacation from Hell and neither of them may survive to see the New Year.” The first installment is available today on the Panel Syndicate website in English and Spanish.
“Ed Brubaker has always been one of my favorite comic book writers,” said Martin. “There’s a unique quality to his writing, like a sober sadness that permeates all his work and always shines through, whether it’s on his crime noir stories with artist extraordinaire Sean Phillips or on his superhero projects at Marvel or DC. We had the chance to collaborate briefly on a Captain America Annual almost 15 years ago and I remembered the experience fondly, so when the time came last year to start thinking about what creator owned project I wanted to tackle next, I was hoping he’d had a similar positive memory of our past work together. But most importantly, I had his email address.”
Panel Syndicate is the digital comics imprint started by Marcos Martin and Brian K. Vaughan, where they’ve published their own projects like The Private Eye and Barrier, as well as other people’s comics, like Umami and Blackhand Ironhead. They’ve all been released in a “pay what you want” digital format, with all titles still available now on their website (if you’re looking for some quality materiel to binge while sheltering in place).
“When Marcos wrote to me last summer asking if I wanted to work with him on his next big thing for Panel Syndicate, I think I wrote back within a minute to say yes,” said Brubaker. “I’ve been a longtime fan and watching his style evolve over the years has been amazing, and I was also really interested in what he and Brian K Vaughan created when they released The Private Eye on Panel Syndicate. For a while now a lot of cartoonists I follow—like Emily Carroll and Tillie Walden—have been publishing their work digitally as they complete it, and then putting out these gorgeous collections in print, and I’ve been curious to try something like that… to serialize a graphic novel in chapters, then put out the book in print (and knowing me, with all sorts of extras) when it’s done.”